Getting Life Insurance With a Lung Condition
Lung conditions such as COPD, emphysema, cystic fibrosis, and pleural effusion can affect your eligibility for a life insurance policy. You can still get covered, but you may need to take steps to improve your health to make premiums more affordable.
Being diagnosed with a lung issue can be upsetting. There is a wide range of conditions that could affect your lungs, including pneumonia, cystic fibrosis, pleural effusion, emphysema, chronic bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
While some lung conditions such as pneumonia can be cured, others are chronic or progressive and you’ll be coping with the condition for the rest of your life. There are varying levels of severity with some lung diseases as well. For example, pulmonary function tests can determine if you have mild COPD, moderate COPD or severe COPD/extreme COPD.
On this page:
- How Does Life Insurance Factor In?
- How Do Lung Conditions Influence the Cost of a Life Insurance Policy?
- What Policies Are Best for People With Severe Lung Conditions?
- What to Consider When Shopping for a Life Insurance Policy if You Have a Lung Condition
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How Does Life Insurance Factor In?
If you’re concerned your medical condition could increase the likelihood you’ll pass away, you may decide to get life insurance quotes and buy life insurance.
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A life insurance policy provides a death benefit to loved ones whom you designate as beneficiaries. Buying a policy can prevent your family from incurring significant expenses after your death for funeral costs. It can also help your loved ones to maintain their quality of life even without your financial contributions.
Unfortunately, buying life insurance after the diagnosis of a lung condition can be a challenge. Some insurers won’t give you coverage at all, while others will charge you higher premiums due to your medical issue compared to someone with no lung problems. It’s a challenge to find affordable life insurance when you have a condition that could classify you as high-risk in from the perspective of insurance carriers.
You should still be able to obtain a policy, but you need to understand your options and the steps you can take to maximize the chances of finding an affordable insurance policy.
How Do Lung Conditions Influence the Cost of a Life Insurance Policy?
Anyone who applies for a life insurance policy must go through an underwriting process once they start working with a life insurance agent. Unfortunately, for people with a lung condition, this underwriting process could result in a denial of coverage, or underwriters could recommend the insurance company charge much higher premiums.
Underwriting is the process by which an insurer assesses risk. Insurers want to provide insurance to people who have a small risk of dying while covered by the policy because insurers don’t want to pay out the death benefit. If an applicant for insurance is considered to have a greater risk of passing away, that applicant could be refused a policy or could be charged less affordable rates due to the added risk that the applicant presents.
A lung condition can, in most cases, increase your risk of mortality. This is especially true for serious conditions such as emphysema or COPD. If your condition is chronic, progressive, or advanced, the risk may simply be too high for most insurers to be willing to take on. But, if you had a minor health issue affecting your lungs—such as a bout of pneumonia a year or two ago that has since been cured—then you may be able to get coverage at a price similar to someone with no serious health problems.
Your ability to get coverage and the price you have to pay will all depend upon how risky underwriters believe it is to insure you and your overall health. You should try to improve your health condition as much as possible—and make sure your medical records reflect any improvements in your condition—before you apply for coverage to reduce your life insurance rates and help you get coverage from insurance underwriters.
What Policies Are Best for People With Severe Lung Conditions?
Some people with severe lung conditions such as lung cancer aren’t going to be able to get standard life insurance at all. That’s because insurers will determine that the risk of mortality is too great. For others, such as people with COPD, standard policies may be very expensive, and getting covered may be unaffordable.
The good news is, there are a few options that almost anyone can take advantage of, including people with severe lung conditions.
One of your options is a guaranteed issue policy. Guaranteed issue policies get their name because the insurance company guarantees coverage to all applicants, no matter their current health status. Many insurers don’t require medical exams to give you a guaranteed issue policy, and you’ll be approved no matter how grave your lung condition.
However, the policy limits on this type of coverage will typically be fairly low. For example, while the death benefit may cover your funeral costs and provide some additional money for your family, you aren’t going to be able to get hundreds of thousands of dollars in coverage from a guaranteed issue policy.
A graded death benefit policy could also provide you with coverage, but your family wouldn’t receive the full death benefit right away if you pass away. Typically, these policies are structured so your beneficiaries receive a set percentage of the death benefit based on how long the policy has been in effect.
For example, the policy may pay out 25% of the death benefit after 12 months of coverage; 50% after 24 months of coverage; 75% after 36 months of coverage; and finally, the full amount after at least 48 months of coverage.
You should shop around to compare costs and benefits of different policies to find one that will provide your family with the largest death benefit possible at a price you are able to pay.
What to Consider When Shopping for a Life Insurance Policy if You Have a Lung Condition
The better your health—and the longer the time has passed since your lung issue caused serious complications—the more easily you will be able to obtain coverage and the more affordable your policy will be.
You should follow your doctor’s advice for managing your lung condition and should comply with treatment recommendations, as doing so can help you to become more insurable. If you are a smoker, you can also reduce insurance costs and maximize the chances of getting approved for a policy if you quit smoking.
It’s also important to realize that not all insurers use the same underwriting standards. Some insurers may be more willing than others to give you a policy with affordable premiums despite your lung condition.
You Can Get Life Insurance with a Lung Condition
Life insurance ensures your family won’t face a big financial shock after your death. If you have a lung condition and your family depends upon your income or the services you provide, you should find life insurance coverage so your family is protected in case something happens to you. You do have coverage options even with a lung condition, so shop around to find a policy that is right for your needs.